First Grade Is Out Of This WorldPosted by Maureen Diallo
To extend our learning of the solar system, the first grade scientists traveled to the Discovery Museum to view the planetarium show The Little Star That Could. The class felt as though they traveled into outer space as the stars and planets surrounded them in the planetarium. The class recharged with snack and blasted off to the museum galleries to explore all of the exciting things at the Discovery Museum. Our trip was out of this world!
Food for ThoughtPosted by George Seferidis
Seventh-grade humanities class figuratively travels around the globe to delve into culture and current events. We learn about other peoples through literature, history, art, and film, but sometimes, we seek understanding through a somewhat unlikely curricular source–food. Food is a medium, a nourishing social art, which invites others to experience a culture through a language of flavors and a palate of aromas. We celebrate with food; we heal with food. Our students recognized this while reading I Lived on Butterfly Hill, a coming-of-age novel set in an allegorical depiction of Pinochet’s rise to power in Chile. Throughout the novel, the protagonist, Celeste, lyrically revels in the power of food. Of her grandmother’s journey to Chile as a WWII refugee, she learns, “Abuela suffers from an illness called nostalgia, which is often cured with a sprinkle of love, some lemon, a few raisins, and many slices of avocado.” The contrast of flavors and textures triggers sensations, awakens memory, alerts us to the present, and quite literally keeps us full.
As Celeste matures in her own journey as a refugee in Maine, she finds the strength to persevere through writing, reading, and preparing the comfort food of her culture, sharing them with her newfound friends. Celeste shares the food of her culture as both a celebration of difference and connection. Following Celeste’s example, seventh-graders collaborated with our kitchen staff to research and design the school’s lunch menu last Friday, sharing the knowledge during this unit. Chef David and Chef Jessica, always open to student collaboration in the kitchen, visited our humanities class sharing items and culinary knowledge with our seventh-graders. Each seventh-grader presented a salad, main dish, soup, side, and dessert, sharing their research and rationale. Our chefs selected recipes from student presentations and prepared them for our school lunch. Before we ate, seventh-graders introduced the meal to their peers and faculty. We were impressed with our student appetites for knowledge and understanding. Their presentations were emblematic of their appreciation of the novel and the history of Chile. We learned that food is a universal element that blurs the borders that we create between cultures.
Just Don’t Call it Dirt!Posted by Carlene Gordon
Our third and fourth grade scientists discovered that fall is a great time to visit the Audubon! On a recent crisp and sunny autumn day, we took the short trip together for a day of outdoor learning and fun.
Third graders focused on studying soils and the vital role soil plays in all life forms. Our young scientists were equipped with electronic soil temperature probes, soil samplers, soil color and insect guides and spoons to gentle move small amounts of decaying matter. Through the hour plus long trek through the trails of the Audubon, students stopped at a meadow, a woodland and a marsh to gather soil temperatures, color samples and life forms in the soil. Students carefully measured and recorded at each stop.
In the meantime, fourth graders investigated rocks and minerals. The visit began with students analyzing various properties of rocks. Students were presented with kits to test rocks for hardness, color, luster, and streak and given instructions in how to measure each. Afterward, students were lead by an educator through the trails surrounding the Audubon. There, students were able to apply the skills they learned to the real world around them. Students discovered many samples of gneiss, schist and examined signs of weathering and erosion.
After the hike, students gathered inside the Audubon to perform further investigations on various rocks, minerals and soils. The trip wrapped up with students drawing conclusions from all the data collected on the hikes.
We extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the wonderful educators at the Audubon!
The CavePosted by Craig Knebel
So come out of your cave walking on your hands
And see the world hanging upside down
You can understand dependence when you know the maker’s heart- Mumford and Sons The Cave c 2012
What better way to tie up a year of Earth Science and craft a bonding and resilience trip than a caving expedition.
The 6th grade travelled to Clarksville Cave near Albany, NY and Boyd Thacher state park to explore plate tectonics, sedimentary rocks, erosion and caving. Why Albany? 400 million years ago the drifting North American plate slammed into a volcanic arc of islands and a new continental edge formed east of the Hudson River. This new edge was swamped with ocean water forming a nearly cutoff inland sea in the Devonian period around Albany. This underwater time lead to the formation of ancient seabeds which in turn, form the basis of our limestone explorations.
Springtime at the Birdcraft MuseumPosted by Mary Faulkner
It was early morning on one of the first beautiful days of spring and a wonderful time for the fifth grade students’ field experience to the Birdcraft Museum in Fairfield. Each year prior to this experience, I tell the students we are going to see how birds are banded and find out the many reasons why birds are banded in the first place. And each year this announcement is met with little enthusiasm, not knowing what to expect, but as is usually the case, this changed very quickly when we arrived at the center. The volunteer banders explained that this is usually a very busy time of year for them. Birds from as far as Arctic tundras and southernmost parts of South America, view this grassy area in the midst of a concrete jungle and seek refuge. The students had the opportunity to observe different bird species being banded; a robin with a pronounced brood patch, two cat birds, one already banded, an American Redstart and the shy and somewhat elusive Yellow Rumped Warbler and the Red Eyed Vireo! The creatures were banded, weighed and checked to see how old they might be, among other things. They had so many questions and answered just as many! After we watched these birds banded and released by students, we walked the picturesque grounds of the center making observations using binoculars, of other birds and reptiles. We also were shown the nets that are hung between trees where the birds are caught for banding. During our short hike we observed turtles, a pair of mallards and a goose sitting on her nest of eggs. It was a great day and a wonderful opportunity for the students to get an up close view of these creatures!
Learning by Visiting SpainPosted by Craig Knebel
Our educational philosophy is simple: the best way to help students gain new perspectives and build skills for the future is through experiential learning. Thirty current and two former Unquowa students traveled to Barcelona, Spain for spring break 2017. Along with Mr Knebel, Mrs. Leidlein, Mrs. Sylvestro, Mrs. Ponden and Mr. Werner the students walked, tasted, danced and observed the cultural heritage and history of Spain. Over ten days the students visited Barcelona, the international heart of Spain, Madrid the regal capital, Toledo with its vast history, Cordoba with Moorish, Jewish and Christian influences, Seville the cultural center of Andalusia, and back to Madrid.